The Wisdom of Drama - September 11, 2008

Drama 2.0 says:

He who sells his soul often spends the rest of his life trying to buy it back.

If ever there was a post that truly requires no more than “this says it all,” this would be it.

Yammer, the Twitter knock-off that asks its users to answer the question “What are you working on now?” has walked away with TechCrunch50’s top prize.

What more really needs to be said?

According to TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld, Yammer’s business model is “brilliant.” And it’s simple: companies that want to claim their “users” and gain access to administrative controls have to pay Yammer.

Startup Advice: Fitbit

I used to provide my thoughts on individual startups back when I was commenting on TechCrunch in 2006/2007 and I haven’t done much of that over the past year, primarily because I became bored with most of the Internet/technology startups that have launched.

Yet a startup that I think might have some potential launched yesterday at TechCrunch50 and I thought I’d provide some free advice to it because the venture capitalists who provided feedback didn’t do a very good job and for the most part, didn’t seem to know their heads from their asses.

FitBit Overview

What Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Want: Lots of Money with No Strings Attached

I substituted a siesta this afternoon to watch the TechCrunch50 panel on venture capital.

The members of the panel were Sumant Mandal of Clearstone Venture Partners, George Zachary of Charles River Ventures, Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, Raj Kapoor of Mayfield Fund and Ross Levinsohn of Velocity Interactive Group.

Joining them was serial entrepreneur Mark Pincus, no stranger to Sand Hill Road (his current startup Zynga just under $40 million in funding).

ChopMotors: Buying a Stolen Car Has Never Been So Easy

While startups that “suck” launch at DEMO and TechCrunch50, I’m out raising money for a mature Internet company that’s under the radar but already very much in the black.

The Opportunity

If you’ve ever had your car stolen, you’ve probably never given much thought to the business of automobile theft - you simply wanted your car back (or your insurance company to cover the costs of your loss so that you could purchase a new one).

Yet the business of stolen automobiles is a multi-billion dollar one and each year, more than 1 million automobiles are stolen in the United States alone. While many of these stolen automobiles never leave the United States, many do.

TechCrunch50: Where are the Poor, Hungry Founders Who Don’t Have $18,500?

Updated: information below about the involvement of Michael Arrington’s business associate, Keith Teare, with a TechCrunch50 startup.

In his attacks on DEMO, Michael Arrington made it clear that he believes DEMO to be unethical because it charges presenting companies $18,500.

The insinuation has always been clear: DEMO is exploiting startups whose founders are typically working with limited funds and who could put $18,500 to work in far more productive ways.

TechCrunch50, on the other hand, because it’s free, gives poor, hungry unknowns the opportunity to launch in front of a huge, well-connected audience without paying a dime. This, of course, is an opportunity DEMO cannot offer because of its price tag.

TechCrunch50 Finalists: First Impressions

TechCrunch50 kicks off today and although I unfortunately had more pressing commitments and will not be wading through the crowd of white men dressed in khakis, I did want to check on who the TechCrunch50 companies are and provide my first impressions.

The Companies

Blah Girls - Backed by Ashton Kutcher, Blah Girls is a gossip site that features a group of animated teenage girls who provide opinions on what’s going on in the world of entertainment

We all know why this made TechCrunch50. Next please.

Tweegee — A hub for tweens, Tweegee offers the youth market a suite of online tools for social interaction and organization

DEMO/TechCrunch Turns Even Uglier, Startups Are the Losers

The drama between DEMO and TechCrunch started in earnest in April when TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington declared that “Demo needs to die.”

He scheduled his startup launch conference, TechCrunch50, the same week as DEMO, forcing startups, PR folks, bloggers and attendees to choose between his conference and the conference he admits he wants to kill.

At the time, DEMO’s Chris Shipley tried to take the high road but since then, the drama between the two conferences has only intensified.

Last week, on the eve of both conferences, Michael Arrington and his friends launched another offensive.

The Stupidity of Social Investing Websites

I’ve always been somewhat amused by social investing websites like Cake Financial and Covestor. As someone who trades stocks and options for more than just fun, I have always believed the utility of services that look to help amateur investors by sharing the portfolios of their members and tracking results is minimal.

While a detailed discussion of my beliefs is beyond the scope of this blog and would be boringly technical, I found a good way to address the subject by using the announcement of Cake Financial’s new index fund - .

When Politics Invades the Tech Blogosphere

With elections in the United States just two months away, it’s not surprising that political talk (and blabber) has invaded the technology blogosphere.

TechCrunch got involved early - it launched the because it wanted “to provide a voice for digital policy and technology issues in the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.” Fine, but recently, TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld took some heat for a political post that was read by some as being in bad taste.

Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins at Mashable is also known to interject his political opinions into his writing. His recent post about Sarah Palin looked a bit out of place on Mashable.

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Drama 2.0 spikes the Web 2.0 kool aid by providing critical analyses of Web 2.0, its people, its startups and its impact on the world of media. Other topics are explored when Drama 2.0 has been drinking too much 1975 Dom Perignon. Read more about the Internet's version of Keyser Söze here.